Thursday, 22 September 2016

Birthday Outfit Diary

I always get so excited about my birthday! This year, I tried to convince Andrew that birthday month was an actual thing and although he wasn't having any of that, I did get him to agree to birthday week as a compromise. He planned some amazing things for us - we went out lots and we ate lots. I am working on some other posts about what we got up to but in the meantime, heres what I wore!

Of course we kicked off Birthday week with a meal at our favourite place! It seems to get busier and busier every time we go but the food and service is always incredible! Sheesh is a very smart place but it was a warm evening so I went a little more casual than usual with these shorts from Primark and a crop cami from Topshop. These tops are my favourite in the summer because they are so light and are a really easy way to add a pop of colour.

Duck & Waffle
This was the actual day of my birthday and I wanted to dress up a little but also keep it smart. I wouldn't usually wear heels for breakfast but I was in Liverpool Street and going for the 'City girl on a breakfast date' look.

My top is from Coast which isn't somewhere that I would usually shop but actually, I always find tops that I like when I go in there. This one has slits along the shoulders so the sleeve hang a little and it ties up really nicely at the front as it is specifically to be tied. I paired it simply with a black skirt from H&M and my go to New Look heels.

Pivaz is a new turkish that has recently opened up on my local high street. My parents went on the opening night and have been going on about it ever since so we went for my family birthday meal with Andrew and my brothers.

I had come straight from work so I wanted to wear something comfortable but still pretty and fun hence this amazing dress from Lauren Popes range at In The Style and white converse. It is a totally different shape to anything I own and whenever I wear it, I get lots of compliments on it. Its a super lightweight material and it flows out behind me when I walk.

Hubbard & Bell
So my last breakfast outfit was smart and subtle, this one is saying I'm going for breakfast and I'm excited. Well actually, it says but first brunch but you get my point. Andrew and I were off to our first hotel afterwards so I could wear it for breakfast and then get changed later, I do love this jumper but I think I would feel silly wearing it past lunchtime. It's currently in the sale on boohoo for £5 and it's pretty tiny so size up -I'm wearing a 12! Again with my H&M skirt, another pair of converse and my trusty Antler case for our weekend away. 

City Social
 Granted this is a bit of a crappy photo but it seems to be the only one I have from our last evening. I also got this lace dress on boohoo and it was the first time in a long time that I had bought a dress especially for an occasion. I thought I'd get something new as Andrew said he had booked a posh restaurant. He was planning on dressing smart too but turns out he forgot to bring smart shoes and he couldn't wear Vans with his suit so he ended up wearing his usual combo and I looked totally overdressed haha. Oh well, Birthday Girl coming through!!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Five Places For Breakfast In London

If you guys have followed me for a while, particularly on Instagram, you will know that I am a little bit partial to a nice brunch at the weekends! Breakfast during the week is such a boring experience for me, I've been making my way through a box of weetabix this week so that's why I like to indulge a little at the weekend.

If you asked me what my perfect 24 hours in London would be, it would definitely start with brunch! Usually it's all about the avocado but since I had five different sitting to attend to this week, I mixed up my choices a little! My birthday plans were left completely up Andrew this year and luckily for me, my boyfriend knows me well.

Duck & Waffle at The Heron Tower

This was on the morning of my actual birthday and I was so excited because I have wanted to visit duck and waffle for such a long time now. We got in the lift up to the 40th floor and sat at a window seat looking out over London. Compared to the sky garden and even the shard, it seemed so much higher and whilst it was pretty scary, it was also pretty amazing.

I popped to the toilet and when I came back, Andrew had ordered two belinis! Champagne for breakfast it was then! I kinda wanted to order the duck and waffle, because, well you know; but the duck egg en cocotte sounded too good to pass up. So whilst Andrew got stuck into his full English, I had a pan of melted gruyere cheese, wild mushrooms and truffle with a fried duck egg in the middle and a basket of toasted bread soldiers. It was delicious and a bit over indulgent for breakfast but it was my birthday after all!

As we finished our drinks, the manager brought over a cute little cake with a candle in it which was a nice touch and just the sweet bite I needed needed to finish off.

Hubbard & Bell at The Hoxton Hotel

We've been here a few of time now because its one of our favorite places for breakfast! The eggs are always poached to perfection plus I love that the avotoast comes with pistachios for a little extra crunch.

After feeling ill every single time I eat bread, this time, I though you know what!? Why do I keep doing this to myself and decided to order gluten free to see what happened. I was a bit scared to eat it at first because even though it was gluten free, it was still a slice of bread and I was convinced that it was going to make me feel ill plus I wasn't even sure that I was going to like it. I needn't have worried though, because the thick slice of seeded bread that arrived with my breakfast was delicious and I actually really enjoyed it's crumbly texture. Afterwards, low and behold no stomach ache, no acid reflux and no falling asleep. Problem solved!

The Holborn Dining Room At The Rosewood

Andrew had booked a super weekend for us and the first night involved a stay at The Rosewood Hotel. For breakfast in the morning, we had three options; room service, the mirror room or the holborn dining room. I wanted to see as much of the hotel as I could so that put a cross over room service. We first popped to the mirror room but it was a bit too loungey for us as so we moved on to The Holborn Dining room in the courtyard of the hotel, which was much more of a proper restaurant. We both loved the style and don't ask me how but strangely, it reminded us both of main street Disney, it just had that vibe.

Anyway I thought I'd try something different this morning and went for scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, I also ordered an exotic fruit salad, tea and juice and some more gluten free bread! It was quite expensive but luckily it was all included in the price of our room.

Room Service At The South Place Hotel

The next evening, we stayed at another amazing hotel and decided to spend our last morning together in bed. Whilst they have the rooms and design down to a T, we weren't so impressed with the breakfast. It was a little bit cold when it arrived and they forgot a smoothie, which was quickly brought up afterward, although it was tasteless. This definitely won't stop us from going back though as I would count it as my new favourite hotel, we just won't be booking breakfast next time!

NAC Mayfair

This one was a few days later but I took it as a chance to celebrate my first full week of being 23! I popped down to Mayfair for breakfast with Farfetch. As I like to describe them, its like ASOS but for designer brands - they have a selection of over 400 boutiques and some incredible stock.

It was a great opportunity to hear about blogging from some different points of view, especially as some of them were fashion magazines as well as blogs and of course catch up with the Laurren who arranged it all!

Of course I went to the avotoast yet again and a glass of fresh orange juice. I loved that they spread the toast with avocado before they piled it on top as well. There were chilli seeds on it which I was not expecting but those were easily scraped off! 
 *Collaborative Post

Sunday, 4 September 2016

My Third Day In Lech: Waterfalls

Our final full day of the trip was a much more relaxed one. We were given the choice to do what we fancied in the morning so whilst some of the others went back to the mountain we visited on the first day, I decided to have a lay in and have an hour or two on my own. I had a late breakfast and then wandered into town to pick up a shot glass for Andrew. The weather was beautiful - blue skies and warmth, I felt like I got the see the place in full summer swing!
 Soon enough, the others had come back and with a packed lunch fresh from the hotel bakery, we took a hike into the forest and this hike, I really enjoyed. The ground was flat and dry, the sun was shining and I was actually able to take in and appreciate the vast views. We ate our little packed lunch on a bench right  on the river. The flowing water that we saw the day before was just a trickle compared to what we saw here. 
Our tour guide took us further into the forest as we followed the stream where our trip finished up by to a beautiful roaring waterfall. We spend a half hour there sitting on the rocks as it passed us by. 
As the hotel Gotthard are now running golf package holidays, we visited their golf course later that afternoon which was a short drive from the hotel and Austria's highest altitude golf course! I'm not a golfer myself, obviously, I sat in the cafe which had an amazing view over the whole course and drank mango juice but just look at that backdrop, what an incredible setting to play in.
Everyone was in high spirits for our last evening! We had been on this wonderful walk, the other half of the team had a fun afternoon rock climbing! We spent our last evening together back to the little communal area where the market was earlier in the week; except this time, it was kitted out with a stage and some food stands. There we ate Austrian sausages and drank beer whilst we listened to the band play traditional Austrian music. It was a pretty lovely end to the trip!

Monday, 29 August 2016

My Second Day In Lech: Struggle

Our second morning in Lech was an early one as we wanted to go down to explore the hotels bakery before our days activity. Clements took us to the huge bakery underneath the hotel and showed us how they made the apple strudel that they serve upstairs. He told us that the bakery supplies bread for the whole town and brings in as much money for them as the hotel does! It took him all of ten minutes to perfectly stretch the dough paper thin, fill it with ingredients and roll it up, we were all in awe of his skills. With the promise of a slice for when we return later on, we were off on a big hike.
I'll be honest; hiking, OK but hiking up a mountain in the freezing cold isn't really my idea of fun. It looked like a nice day and we were told it'd only be two hours so when given the choice, I went along. We soon realised it was actually snowing in the mountains and we spent the next four hours up there. Of course, some of the views were really breathtaking, that is, when I did look up, as I was so worried about slipping on the wet stones that it didn't happen often. I did however stop to watch each small waterfall we passed because I loved how the water moved and was always interested to see where they started and how they ran down the mountains. I  also loved the sound that came from the cows and their cowbells. That stuff, was all very storybook.
By the time we'd reached the top we'd seen snow, rain, sun and hail and been soaked through and then completely dried again. We also came across a hut full of goats which my personal highlight, I love goats!
We finished our trip at a little old wooden house without any electricity. We bought lemonade and cloudy cider and ate cheese, chorizo and ham whilst we marveled that at how we managed to get there - me especially, I didn't think my body was capable of that and although I found it extremely hard, I did it, I kept up for the most part and I was proud of myself. 
Saying that, I never want to do anything like that ever again. The panic I felt when the tour guide disappeared completely out of sight was like no other. It was pouring of rain and the very thin path that I thought I'd seen him go up was now occupied by a couple of cows. So yes, I did have a panic attack on the top of a mountain but luckily it was only for a couple of minutes as I knew how to get through it.

When we finally reached the bottom of the mountain, we were picked up in the hotel's mini van and driven back to civilization with a piece of strudel waiting for each of us. I ordered mine with a scoop of ice cream and a peppermint tea and then went straight to the room for a bath and a well deserved nap. Ready for dinner a couple of hours later, we all hopped back into the van and drove 10 minutes to a little hut next to a huge lake. All eleven of us bundled inside and filled the whole place which I loved, it was so cosy! We ordered fish caught fresh from the lake and tried some more delicacies - I started with a creamy fish soup which was just what I needed after the day I'd had and for dessert, we had Kaiserschmarrn which translates to shredded, fluffy pancakes which I really enjoyed. Some bits were crunchy whilst others were thick and stodgy - all the better dipped in sweet apple sauce.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and had a drink. Austrians are all about their Schnapps and Clements has a bit of a press trip tradition on picking a flavour to suit each person. He picked hazelnut for me which was the sweetest of them all, he had obviously noticed that I like my desserts hahah.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

My First day in Lech: Snow

As I got out of bed on the first morning and pulled back the curtains I was taken back by the most beautiful view from my balcony, even though it was freezing cold, I just opened the door and sat on the balcony for ten minutes to take it all in.
We had arranged to meet at 10 am. so that meant time for a lay in and a lovely warm soak in my deep filled bath before meeting the rest of the team for breakfast. By this point it was snowing very heavily but we were excited to get out into it and explore Lech. Our first activity of the day was to visit a local food market and we were going to walk there so I went straight back to the room to layer up. I put on as many layers as I could manage I finished up with a t-shirt, two jumpers and a coat as well as bed socks and a scarf and woolly hat - a girls gotta keep warm!
We grabbed an umbrella (the hotel supplies kne in each room) on our way out and made the 10-minute walk up the street to the market. It was all local produce from cheeses and cured meats to pine infused schnapps and little hand made trinkets. Next door was Stroltz which is known as Austria's Harrods so we popped in there as well. 
Behind the market was the entrance to the cable car and using our Lech cards, soon we were climbing up into the mountains in thick snow and the views going up were just incredible, just like something from a film, I've never seen that much snow before. Once we got to the top, we couldnt see anything, just white everywhere - we stopped for a hot chocolate and played around outside for a bit before we got back on, down to ground level.
You know me, always thinking about food and I was starting to get hungry. We walked back to the hotel, arriving just in time for the snow to stop. Typical. We had lunch in the hotel's restaurant and there was a whole host of traditional dishes flying around - some people tried the Austrian pancake soup, a meat broth with thin slices of pancake floating around in it. There was also a wiener schnitzel of course and a few plates of beef goulash which was very rich and hearty.
 It was still a little bit drizzly after lunch so whilst most of the team went for another little hike, Sonia and I decided to spend the afternoon in the spa. After an hour of chatting, lazing around the pool we got in for a little swim and then spent another hour just sitting in the jacuzzi before finishing off in the sauna. So lovely and relaxing, the perfect rainy day activity if you ask me.
By the time I got back to my room, the sun was finally shining. I thought my view was pretty in the snow but being able to see it clearly in the  sunshine was amazing! 

Somehow an hour later, it was time to eat again - the whole day just flew past. The Tourist Board had arranged for us to have dinner at Haus No. 8 which was the restaurant across the road (literally) from the hotel and also owned by Clements family. It was actually his grandparents home and the one his father grew up so it's pretty cool to go there with him as he pointed out photos of his grandmother, Filomena in the wall. We spent the evening indulging in some more very traditional Austrian food. 

Huge dishes of cheese dumplings (Kasnocken) and some kind of potato and black pudding mixture arrived at the table along with all sorts of salads. It all looked super heavy but it was surprisingly unstodgey, it was a really delicious meal actually and the restaurant was super cute.
Afterwards everyone crossed the road, back to the hotel and settled down with a glass of schnapps. 

Day one. Done.
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